We Have Your Back

A New York Times piece featured UT Austin’s progress in increasing graduation rates through a series of innovative programs and the use of predictive analytics that build a “we have your back” community of support for students who may otherwise struggle to succeed. The University is forecasting it will hit its goal of graduating 70 percent of students within four years “helping to make room for more than 1,000 additional freshmen. Even more impressive, the gap between the campus-wide four-year graduation rate and the rate for low-income, black, Latino and first-generation students has been cut in half.”
 
The Texas A&M System broke ground this week on its RELLIS campus “marking the occasion with bulldozers in lieu of the typical ceremonial shoveling.” You can watch the video here.
 
State Sen. Chuy Hinojosa was honored as one of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s 2018 Distinguished Alumni. A McAllen Monitor editorial noted, “Hinojosa has long been a champion for improving education, on all levels, within Texas, and in particular in the Rio Grande Valley.”
 
The joint committee on higher education funding, which recently met in Austin to “examine how higher education institutions are funded and how they use special item project funds,” will submit recommendations by April 15. The committee may have more hearings, according to co-chair Sen. Kelly Hancock. The Houston Chronicle offers an “explainer” about what’s going on with higher education funding.
 
Speaking of funding, Texas Tech University System Chancellor Robert Duncan saidthe 2019 Texas Legislative Session should be more “generous” with higher education funding. Duncan, a former state lawmaker himself, was in El Paso for a meeting of the System’s Board of Regents. "The economy looks a lot better right now; I foresee higher education being highly supported in the next session. There's always issues and things that have to be worked through. But I think it's our opportunity to show legislators the benefits that we provide for the citizens of our state," Duncan said. El Paso is home to the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, which experienced a reduction of roughly $1.2 million for 2017-2018.
 
UT System Chancellor Bill McRaven, in an online letter to students offered his support for those currently under DACA status who may be facing uncertain futures as a deadline for a permanent solution to their legal status draws near. “If you are a DACA recipient … your time on one of our 14 campuses should be marked by your hard work, determination and enlightenment — not by anxiety about your future. I, along with UT institution presidents, strongly believe in the benefits of DACA and encourage Congress to act quickly to continue the program and create a pathway for you to fulfill what I trust is your dream, to become a citizen of our great nation.”
 
Watch the “Live Falcon Cam” mounted on top of The University of Texas Tower, which is home to one of the fastest animals on the planet, a Peregrine Falcon. Proceeds from watching the falcon, dubbed “Tower Girl,” support the Biodiversity Center scientists and students who study and work to raise awareness about a wide diversity of animals, plants, ecosystems and their interactions.

Week of March 4, 2018

Latest Updates

  • "Break a few molds"

    It’s graduation season for many institutions of higher education across the state. Here’s a look at some of the highlights from recent commencements. Texas A&M commissioned 138 Corps of Cadets members – the most from a graduating class in three decades – as Army officers at its commencement this year. UT Austin Distinguished Alum and Director of the Defense Health Agency, Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, M.D. led her alma mater’s commencement telling graduates “it is okay to break a few molds.” Jason Jenkins, a Texas Tech Outstanding Alumni winner and Senior Vice President of Communications and Community Affairs for the Miami Dolphins, encouraged Tech graduates to effect change in the “changing political and social climates” they are about to enter. The University of Houston released this video with highlights of its commencement featuring Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, who admonished students to “live their life in such a way that whatever you receive from this university, your parents, from others, that you find a way to share it with someone else.”

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  • “Curiosity is an indicator of the quality of a civilization”

    The Academy of Engineering and Science of Texas (TAMEST) recently released a video that highlights the state’s role as a research and innovation powerhouse and explains more about the organization, which was founded in 2004. “TAMEST is the single most important organization to drive research in the state of Texas,” Chancellor McRaven says in the video. “It’s an intellectual engine for the state of Texas,” says Dr. Peter J. Hotez from the Baylor College of Medicine. “Curiosity is an indicator of the quality of a civilization,” said Dr. Bonnie J. Dunbar, former astronaut and professor at Texas A&M University. “Discovery is about answering specific questions, but also improving our quality of life.”

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